Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekly News 01-30-15

SALEM’S LIFE AND WORK

Leading People to God through Music is the theme of our Music in Worship Committee.
Faith Under Construction is the theme for our Board of Christian Education.
Road Trip is the theme our Youth Ministry Team is following.
Faith on the Move: Mapping Our Future is the theme our Finance Committee has selection for the 2015 stewardship drive.
These are just some of the important paths our congregation is on. There is a place for you on this journey, and we look forward to walking with you.

YOUTH WINTER LOCK-IN begins tonight

Exams are over and the first semester is done. So the youth are going to have a get-away at the church. The overnight retreat begins at 5:30 this evening and goes until 10 AM on Saturday. Along with fun and games, there will some serious planning toward the annual Youth Sunday service (March 8).

FEBRUARY 1

The Bible passage guiding our time together in the sanctuary this week is one that tells of Jesus inside the synagogue at Capernaum (Mark 1:21-28). In the synagogue that day the people present learned something powerful about Jesus’ message and his personality. You can come to new and powerful realizations, too, by joining in worship, actively participating in the prayers and the hymns. We hope to see you this Sunday! We have a space reserved for you in the pews!

BENEFIT CONCERT on February 8 at 3 pm

Join the Salem music department and friends on Sunday, February 8th, at 3pm for a benefit concert in support of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. In addition to great music, a DAIS representative will speak about current projects and the growing needs of Dane county. The concert will include an intermission and attendees are warmly invited to a free reception afterward. Those wishing to do more for DAIS should bring used cell phones, Walgreens gift cards (for cold/flu medicine), and kids blankets to add to our donation collection.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

The Men’s Fellowship group will meet at the home of Dale Yurs at 6:30 on Tuesday, February 3.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Financial statements covering 2014 are available on a table at the back of the sanctuary. These statements cover giving to the capital campaign as well as to our regular funds.

TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM

Searchlight toward an Understanding of Isalm: Hardly a day goes by when the words Islam, Islamic, Muslim or some related words do not appear in the news. We cannot come close to solving world problems, but we can come to greater understandings. In this Searchlight Class, set to begin on February 23 and go for five Mondays, Mark will introduce us, ever so briefly, to the history and background of Islam as well as to some of its vocabulary. Sessions toward the end will allow for discussion of current events. We cannot hope to do justice to this major religion in this brief span of time, but we can make a start. We will not offer a critical analysis of Islam, but we will look for areas of common ground between it and Christianity.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekly News 01-23-15

JANUARY 25

The Message We Want to Get through to People Today is the title of Mark’s sermon for this week. It is based on Mark 1:14-15. The Time with Children, which we are using to teach about worship, will concentrate on hymns this week, teaching about why we sing. And, speaking of singing, the Barry Robinson Chorus will lead us to God through their music.

BAPTISM

Ivy Ashleigh Charlotte Grotelueschen will be baptized during worship this Sunday. Ivy is the daughter of Brandon and Heidi Grotelueschen and she was born on September 29 of last year. Participating in the Sacrament of Infant Baptism is an excellent way to quietly renew your own Baptism vows. So, while Brandon and Heidi answer about and for Ivy Sunday morning, you can answer faith’s questions in your heart and thereby reach a kind of renewal in your own soul.

SPAGHETTI SUPPER

Our Youth will be holding a spaghetti supper this Sunday from 5 pm until 6:30. This is a way of raising funds for their Serving and Learning Trips (SALT) scheduled for the summer. There are no advance tickets, but free-will offerings will be happily accepted.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Financial statements covering 2014 are available on a table at the back of the sanctuary. These statements cover giving to the capital campaign as well as to our regular funds.

RECYCLE THE WARMTH

Recycle the Warmth is an annual bedding and blanket drive sponsored by St Vincent de Paul. This is the 23rd year that gently used and new bedding & blankets will be collected and donated to our neighbors in need in Madison and the surrounding communities. Please bring your donations to church and place them in the bin in the fellowship hall or take an envelope to make a monetary donation. New blankets can be purchased for those in need for only $8.00.  Donations will be accepted until Sunday January 25th.

COMING SOON (Well, February 23)

Searchlight toward an Understanding of Islam: Hardly a day goes by when the words Islam, Islamic, Muslim or some related words do not appear in the news. We cannot come close to solving world problems, but we can come to greater understandings. In this Searchlight Class, set to begin on February 23 and go for five Mondays, Mark will introduce us, ever so briefly, to the history and background of Islam as well as to some of its vocabulary. Sessions toward the end will allow for discussion of current events. We cannot hope to do justice to this major religion in this brief span of time, but we can make a start. We will not offer a critical analysis of Islam, but we will look for areas of common ground between it and Christianity.

MULTI-CULTURAL SHOWCASE at Verona Area High School

The Multicultural Showcase features singing, rap, dancing poetry and instruments that exhibit the talents and cultures of our very own VAHS students. We understand that Isaac Worley from our congregation will be the second performer of the night. The show will take place on January 30th at 7:00 PM and is open to the general public. Admissions fee is $3.00 per student, $5.00 for adults.  To help families, there will be a discounted price for families. The church’s Membership Growth and Development Committee is hoping to encourage church members to attend programs and events featuring our members, as a way of showing support.

If you or one of your children has a game, concert, play or other activity we can uplift here at the church, let us know by sending an email to myurs@salemchurchverona.org.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly News 01-16-15

THIS SUNDAY

Wow! Can you believe it? We are already at the third Sunday of January! Mark will be preaching on a verse from the Gospel According to John. The verse is John 1:43. The sermon is called “Two Living Truths about Jesus.” Read that verse and try to anticipate the two thoughts about Jesus Mark sees in this passage. Hint: both are in the second sentence.

BAPTISM

Benjamin Kenneth Shubak will be baptized in our worship service this week. Born on June 6, 2014, Benjamin is the son of Mark and Kathy Shubak. Samuel is his big brother. They live near Country View School. Benjamin got home from the hospital just in time for the tornado that hit his neighborhood the week after he was born. He and his family stayed safe. His baptism on Sunday will be a better initiation into life in the church than a tornado was into life in Verona!

A TIME WITH CHILDREN

There will be a time with children this Sunday during worship. This time it will happen right before the baptism. Mark is using these times with children this winter to teach about worship. Last Sunday we thought about the Sacrament of Communion. This week our theme will be the Sacrament of Infant Baptism. Mark is guessing that most of the children – though maybe not all – who come forward will be ones he baptized. Parents: help your children look forward to this movement of worship, and to learn about and to love worship along the way.

SELMA

Salem’s youth will gather at 5pm this Sunday for dinner and to view the movie Selma.  Youth should bring $5. Youth from Lake Edge UCC have been invited to join us.

THERE WILL BE NO CONFIRMATION JANUARY 21

Due to semester exams at Verona Area High School, the Confirmation class for this Wednesday is cancelled so the Confirmands can study, study, study.

SPAGHETTI DINNER

On Sunday, January 25, from 5 pm until 6:30 pm, the Youth will be holding a spaghetti dinner as a way of raising funds for their Serving and Learning Trips (SALT) scheduled for the summer. There are no advance tickets, but free-will offerings will be happily accepted.

RECYCLE THE WARMTH

Recycle the Warmth is an annual bedding and blanket drive sponsored by St Vincent de Paul. This is the 23rd year that gently used and new bedding & blankets will be collected and donated to our neighbors in need in Madison and the surrounding communities. Please bring your donations to church and place them in the bin in the fellowship hall or take an envelope to make a monetary donation. New blankets can be purchased for those in need for only $8.00.  Donations will be accepted until Sunday January 25th.

USHERS

Hooray! The clipboard circulated during worship last week with a calendar for volunteering to usher nearly filled! Three spots – only three! – remain open: one for April 12 and two for May 10. Would you like one of those? A return email or a phone call to the church office will get it for you.

CANCELLATION but a new development

The Searchlight on Galatians has been cancelled. However, Mark is gathering materials for a new Searchlight toward an Understanding of Islam. This is set for five Monday nights starting February 23.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Weekly News 01-09-15

THIS SUNDAY

The Sacrament of Holy Communion will be part of our worship service this week. Mark’s sermon, keying off Mark 1:9, will be entitled “A Field Guide Toward Seeing the Presence of Jesus Today.” The Chancel Choir will be singing.

A TIME WITH CHILDREN

Sunday’s worship service will include a portion called “A Time with Children.” We have not done these – formerly called “Bible Story” – for a while, so it is time to reintroduce them. The switch to the name “A Time with Children” stems from the fact that the content will not be a Bible story. For the next several weeks Mark will be using these bits of the worship service to teach the children about worship. This Sunday we will think about Communion. Let this be an encouragement to parents with children to plan on being in worship for these times with children, and to encourage your child(ren) to come forward to listen.

FELLOWSHIP HOUR THIS SUNDAY

This Sunday’s fellowship time will be hosted by our choirs. Along with providing the goodies for the table, they will be available to give you a chance to ring a chime, toll a bell, or help you come to know more about what it is like to be part of one of our choirs. Look for people with notes or bells pinned to their shirts.

USHERS

A clipboard and calendar will circulate through the pews this Sunday. This will be your chance to volunteer to serve some Sunday as an usher for one of our worship services. We’d love to have your friendly face be one of the first and warmest our members and visitors see when they enter the sanctuary for worship. Have your calendar ready Sunday, and be set to sign up to usher one or more weeks this year.

SPAGHETTI DINNER

On Sunday, January 25, from 5 pm until 6:30 pm, the Youth will be holding a spaghetti dinner as a way of raising funds for their Serving and Learning Trips (SALT) scheduled for the summer. There are no advance tickets, but free-will offerings will be happily accepted.

BLT on HOSEA

The first of the Friday studies in the Book of Hosea is all set for today, January 9, at 11:30. The BL in BLT stands for bag lunch. The T for text. Texts will be provided. You’ll need to bring your lunch. We meet for about an hour in the Conference Room. Just so you know: you cannot read Hosea without thinking about sex. (Is that tantalizing enough to bring you to the BLT?)

SEARCHLIGHT on GALATIANS

The first of the winter Monday night classes is ready to take place on Monday, January 12. Our topic will be the Letter to the Galatians. Who did Paul – the author – think he was, and what had him so ticked off? Not only will we find out in this class, we will also think about what might be upsetting or pleasing him today. (There is no sex on Monday night – see the BLT article, above – but there is anger and intrigue. Maybe even suspense.) We meet in the Conference Room at 7 pm, and go for about an hour.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Weekly News 01-02-15

JANUARY 4

Laura Kolden will lead us this Sunday with a reflection on Ephesians 1:3-14. She will help us see that God’s good pleasure is at work as we begin the New Year and think about how we can and should shape our lives. The Chancel Choir will sing.

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES RESUME

Our Sunday School will be back in session beginning this Sunday. We have classes for three-years-old through adults. Faith is under construction in our church school. And you can be part of it. Sunday School begins at 9 AM.

DECORATIONS

Your help is requested for taking down our Advent and Christmas decorations. We will do this work after worship and fellowship time.

SALEM’S NEW LOAN

The Church Council wishes to announce that the refinancing of the existing Capital Campaign loan was completed on December 29.  Our old loan had an interest rate of 5.625%, and a monthly payment of approximately $15,500, with a remaining principal balance of $462,500.  There was to be a balloon payment of $300,000 in March, 2016.  Through the efforts of the Finance Committee to develop a long-range financial strategy, the approval of our Congregation to proceed with refinancing of our existing loan up to a maximum of $650,000, and formal acceptance on behalf of the Congregation by the Council, we have procured financing for $650,000 at 4.5% interest for five years through Capitol Bank.  The loan is amortized for fifteen years, making our payment $5000 per month, beginning in January, 2015.  This significantly lowers the interest rate on our existing loan from 5.625% to 4.5%, and our monthly payment is substantially reduced from $15,500 per month to $5,000 per month.  This is a major step for Salem, one that allows us to eliminate our lingering deficit of nearly $80,000, establishes growing reserves for future projects, and truly will allow Salem to serve as God will lead us.  The Capital Campaign will continue through 2015, and upon its completion, the new loan will become a part of our annual operating budget.  Until 2016, the Capital Campaign will be tracked as a separate entity, and the proceeds from the campaign will continue to be used to meet the obligations of the new loan.  The 2015 budget approved by our Congregation at our annual meeting remains unchanged.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Did you know that January 4th is Salem’s birthday? Our church was organized as Salem Reformed Church on January 4, 1923. That makes us 92 this Sunday!

HOORAY! Advent Worship Attendance Goal

Payers of attention will recall we were aiming for an Advent worship attendance goal of 140. We did not quite reach that, unfortunately. We just missed. But! With your good help, Salem surpassed its average worship attendance in Advent for each of the last three years (and that is as far back as I looked).

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP MEETING

The Men’s Fellowship will gather Tuesday, January 6, at 6:30 pm. We will meet at the home of Doug Smith.

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS

Our Sunday School teachers will meet at 6 pm on Thursday, January 8. The agenda will include going over plans for the next part of our Sunday School year. Teachers should come with their calendars and with thoughts of any requests they might have for supplies.

BAG LUNCH AND A TEXT (BLT) on HOSEA

We are set to begin a six-week lunchtime class on the prophet Hosea. We will meet at 11:30 on the following Fridays: January 9, 16, 30, and February 6, 13, and 20. Hosea has been called the prophet with a broken heart.  We will think about how his book speaks of the heart of God today. Bring a sack lunch. No need to pre-register.

SEARCHLIGHT ON GALATIANS

We are set to begin a Monday night class on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. This important New Testament book can be called “The Letter from an Astonished Apostle.” Our class will look into who Paul thought he was and what had him so angry. We will have our eyes especially on parallels that may exist today. Sessions will be on the following Mondays, all at 7 pm: January 12, 19, 26, and Feb. 2, 9, and 16. No need to pre-register.